by Dominique Vanier, B.Sc.H., M.Env.Sc., on 14 June 2016, Allergies
Poison ivy can be a nightmare for parents and kids alike, especially if it affects skin surfaces from head to toe. The old saying, “Leaves of three, let it be” has been around as a mnemonic rhyme since the early 1900s.
Still holding true, the leaflets of poison ivy grow in clusters of three and, along with poison oak and sumac, are found in various locations across Canada…
An allergy occurs when your immune system recognizes an environmental or food molecule (allergen) as a dangerous intruder to get rid of. The dreaded symptoms are just the tools your body has to get rid of the intruder.
The allergy mechanism is quite complex and involves the immune system and a series of biochemical reactions. It ends up with histamine and other mediators being released in the bloodstream and causing symptoms. Allergens may result from our environment, food, medication, or personal care products like skin creams or suntan lotions.
The body’s response to an allergen results in “allergy symptoms” ranging from mild to severe, and sometimes deadly. If you are experiencing an allergic reaction you may feel tired, hazy, dizzy, or exhibit cold or flu-like symptoms.
Fifteen per cent of people are allergic to pets, such as cats and dogs. These allergies are caused not by hair but by a protein found in the pets’ dead skin flakes (dander), oils, saliva or urine. When these allergens become airborne, they land on the lining of the eyes or nose or are inhaled directly into the lungs causing irritation.
Sadly, short-haired pets do not cause less of a problem to those suffering with allergies as the dander, is still present.